When towers fall: Gaza youth feels America’s September 11 pain

A street in Khanyounis, a city in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. (Salama S. Salama/YJI)
KHANYOUNIS, Gaza – Although I live thousands of miles away, I still remember the tragedy of the 11th of September after 13 years. It was very sad.
On this sorrowful, elegiac day, I and others in Gaza were sending sympathy and condolences for the families of the victims, insuring that our hearts and thoughts are with all of you.
Some might wonder why I would write about the 11th of September. Why would I care? I am from Gaza I have many sad and tragic stories here.
The answer is simply because I know the feeling of losing a loved one, of  witnessing a city’s symbol being destroyed, of hearing explosions, being terrorized and surviving. I understand the intertwined emotions of witnessing awful tragedy.
Inasmuch as we in Gaza lived the 11th of September for 50 continuous days this year – a time when thousands of homes were destroyed and many more seriously damaged, when we saw mosques, churches, schools and health clinics wrecked.
We had towers in Gaza, too – apartment buildings that were destroyed.
When the Al-Zafer 4, a tall, multi-story apartment building was brought to the ground, it left about 50 families homeless. The Italian compound tower was another theater for a brutal crime. It had about 100 apartments, stores and press offices. The Al-Basha tower and the Zu’rob tower were also destroyed in the last attack on Gaza.
The point is, we share a similar misery and we feel the sadness you felt.
They say you never understand something until it happens to you.
We walked in your shoes.
We feel you, Americans. Do you feel us?

Dalia Al-Najjar is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International.